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24 jalapeño peppers
Canola oil, for deep-frying
1⅔ cups cream cheese, softened to room temp
2 cups shredded dry mozzarella
2 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
1½ tsp paprika
1 generous pinch cayenne, more or less, to taste
5 large eggs
3 Tbsp milk
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups panko breadcrumbs


1 Cut through the tops of the peppers, about 1/4" from their stems, stopping short of cutting all the way through; the tops should still be attached to the main body of the peppers. Carefully scoop out the seeds and white ribs from insides of the peppers and discard them.

2 Pour about 4" canola oil into a large, heavy-based saucepan and place over a moderate heat. Heat the oil to 350°F, using a kitchen thermometer to accurately measure.

3 Combine the cream cheese, mozzarella, and spices in a large mixing bowl, stirring well to thoroughly combine. Taste to find the right spice level, adjusting as needed.

4 Beat the eggs in a shallow dish with the milk. Tip the flour into another dish and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Place the breadcrumbs in a third dish or bowl and season well.

5 Fill the peppers with the cream cheese filling mixture; use a teaspoon to pack the filling into the peppers.

6 Working two at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess before dipping into the beaten egg. Coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing them into the peppers to coat evenly.

7 Deep-fry in the oil, 4-5 at a time, until deeply golden-brown, about 3 minutes; use a spoon to turn them over in the oil for evenly colored poppers.

8 Remove to plates lined with paper towels to drain, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat Step 7 for the remaining poppers.

9 Serve the poppers as soon as possible for best results.

Tips: Make sure to wash your hands after removing the seeds and ribs from the peppers.